The Great Trilemma

Many people of my generation were confronted with the proposition that the concept of absolute Truth is an archaic notion held by uneducated people who had never thought about abstract, philosophical ideas. We were told that there are absolutely no absolutes, and that truth is now considered to be relative. Whatever we might choose to believe to be true is only true now, but may change with changing circumstances.

As the writer at points out:

“……suppose the statement was true and “truth is relative.” Everything, including that statement, would be relative. If a statement is relative, it is not always true. If “truth is relative” is not always true, sometimes truth is not relative.”

While some people claim that everyone’s viewpoint is just as valid as the next persons, there can be no doubt that some viewpoints are more in line with logic and observed reality. There is no sense in considering the view that black is white, when black is quite obviously black; and the concept that there is no absolute right and wrong is just as inane. Nobody in their right mind could ever consider infanticide as acceptable; it’s quite obviously, absolutely wrong.

Relativism is not an idea that stands up to scrutiny. As the writer from All About Philosophy concludes:

“We all know there is absolute truth. It seems the more we argue against it, the more we prove its existence. Reality is absolute whether you feel like being cogent or not. Philosophically, relativism is contradictory. Practically, relativism is anarchy. The world is filled with absolute truth.”

Once we come to terms with the fact that there is absolute Truth, it is often the beginning of a search for that Truth. If Truth exists and can be discovered, why not seek an understanding of just what it is? Why would one choose to be intentionally ignorant about Truth? Tolkien’s mate, the Oxford don C S Lewis, conducted a search for Truth and found he was confronted by what he called a trilemma, when he examined the claims of Jesus, who said:

“…I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. And from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:6-7)

This is an absolute Truth claim. Jesus was claiming to actually be the embodiment of Truth. This claim has enormous ramifications if it is absolutely true. In his book Mere Christianity Lewis wrote:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

We are faced, then, with a frightening alternative. This man we are talking about either was (and is) just what He said, or else a lunatic, or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. God has landed on this enemy occupied world in human form.”

Although most historians are generally agreed that Jesus was an historical figure who had a profound effect on our modern culture, some now practise historical revisionism and try to virtually write Him out of our western culture. It seems today it is more popular to listen to “progressive” ideas from the latest popular celebrity, scientist or philosopher; anyone who lived more than 100 years ago is considered out of touch with reality. The teachings of Jesus are not only ignored, they are lampooned, and antiheroes have become the flavour of our age. What a tragedy. Truth visited this planet and ensured we had His teachings in our hands even today, yet people choose to remain ignorant of His worldview.

Jesus explained that His Eternal Life is a gift He is offering to everyone. After accepting that gift each person can look forward to a lifelong journey of discovering more about the Way and the Truth He embodies. Thankfully, the road is filled with fellow travelers who are prepared to share their own perspectives as we journey together. Let us hope we can yet help many more people to open their hearts and minds to the Eternal Truth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s